Jay Clayton, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), announced on Monday that he is going to step down at the end of this year, at a time when the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed to a record high of nearly 30,000 after Moderna said that its vaccine efficacy has reached 94.5 percent.

Sworn in on May 4, 2017, Clayton will leave the Securities and Exchange Commission as one of its longest-serving chairs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose from around 21,000 when Clayton took the office to nearly 30,000 in February this year. Hit by COVID-19, caused by CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, the Dow Jones Industrial Average went to a free fall to under 20,000 points.

Since Clayton took office, the SEC has brought over 2,550 enforcement actions, obtained over $14 billion in financial remedies, and paid awards of approximately $565 million to whistleblowers. On Oct. 22, the SEC announced an award of over $114 million to a whistleblower, a record since its first award in 2012.

“Working alongside the incredibly talented and driven women and men of the SEC has been the highlight of my career,” said Clayton in a statement, “The U.S. capital markets ecosystem is the strongest and most nimble in the world, and thanks to the hard work of the diverse and inclusive SEC team, we have improved investor protections, promoted capital formation for small and larger businesses, and enabled our markets to function more transparently and efficiently.”

“I would like to thank President Trump for the opportunity, and the support and freedom, to lead the women and men of the SEC,” continued Clayton.

Clayton also thanked Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, leaders at the Federal Reserve, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and other federal financial regulatory agencies.

On June 19, Attorney General William Barr announced that Clayton was nominated by Trump to be the next United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The Southern District of New York is one of the most important districts of all 94 districts in the United States, considering it encompasses Manhattan and the Bronx in New York City, along with Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, and Westchester counties.

Democrats criticized Trump’s nomination of Clayton, saying it was part of an attempt to protect himself from investigations into some of the president’s associates.

Clayton’s nomination process hasn’t started yet.

Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement in June that he would honor the policy of the Judiciary Committee to receive blue slips from home-state senators before proceeding to the nomination.

A blue slip is an opinion written by a home-state senator. The Senate Judiciary Committee takes blue slips into consideration when deciding whether or not to recommend a nominee to the Senate to confirm.

With both Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) openly calling on Clayton to withdraw his nomination, Graham is not likely to get positive blue slips from them.

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